FRAUDULENT phone contracts increase whenever a new iPhone is released. Fraud increased 156 per cent for two days after the iPhone 4S was released in late 2011, says the debt collection and credit reporting agency Dun&Bradstreet.
As a result, telecommunications companies have been advised to stay vigilant, with a higher than usual level of fraudulent applications expected to continue for three weeks.
The research identified criminal hot spots where one in six applications are fraudulent, compared with a national average of one in 30.
In Sydney, crime syndicates target stores in Blacktown and Liverpool, the Dun & Bradstreet research found.
There was no evidence that any particular retailer was at risk, other than those located in these hot spots.
''Identity fraud relating to the iPhone 4S was spread evenly across telecommunications providers. However, our research shows that fraudsters are skilled at identifying providers who have weaker fraud prevention strategies in place,'' the company's general manager of corporate affairs, Danielle Woods, said.
''The significant rise in incidents of application fraud, which occurred when the iPhone became available last year, provides strong evidence to suggest that similar activity will occur in the coming weeks.''
The data has been released to encourage the use of a new extreme credit risk product that identifies potential fraudsters. It uses information such as the applicant's identity, demographic and behavioural elements, giving retailers an opportunity to deny the application.
If a false application is accepted, it is likely the mobile telecommunication company signing them up for the two-year contract will never be paid by the fraudster.